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Spanish unemployment suggests north-south divide

Fri 28th Jan 2011

Figures released earlier today by Spain's National Statsitics Institute (INE) revealed how the country's unemployment rate shot back up over the 20% mark, as a further 138'000 jubs were lost in the final quarter of last year.

The data reveals how the rate of unemployment shot up from 19.8% at the end of September, to 20.3% by the end of December, making it the highest that it has been since Q2 of 1997 when it stood at 20.7%. The decline seen in Q3 of last year was the first and only fall in unemployment seen since Q2 of 2007, when unemployment stood below 10%.

Furthermore, the latest round losses follows two consectutive quarters of job creation, which may signal the fact that the government's austerity measures and lanour reforms are a having a negative effect on the economy overall.

The data suggests a widening north-south divide between the more affluent northern regions, such as Pais Vasco with 11% unemployment and the poorer southern regions and Islands, such as the Canary Islands with 29% unemployment.

The INE's report went on to explain how the increase in unemployment figures was largely fueled by cuts in the service and construction industries. Total net unemployment in Spain now stands at 4.7 million people - the highest rate of unemployment currently seen anywhere in the developed world.

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